The Harley Medical Group

Strict new rules enforced for ads surrounding cosmetic interventions

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) is the UK’s independent advertising regulator that makes sure ads across UK media stick to the advertising rules. They have announced that the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) and Broadcast Committee of Advertising Practice (BCAP) are introducing new targeting restrictions that prohibit cosmetic interventions advertising from being directed at under-18s.

The new targeting restrictions came into effect on 25th May 2022 and essentially require that:

  • Ads for cosmetic interventions must not appear in non-broadcast media directed at under-18s
  • Ads for cosmetic interventions must not appear in other non-broadcast media where under-18s make up over 25% of the audience
  • Broadcast ads for cosmetic interventions must not appear during or adjacent to programmes commissioned for, principally directed at or likely to appeal particularly to under-18s

At The Harley Medical Group we acknowledge and appreciate the new rules behind these cosmetic advertisements and why they’ve been put in place. Particularly because this ensures that young people who may be more vulnerable to these advertisements aren’t exposed to them and therefore isn’t impacting on their self-esteem, wellbeing, mental health and behaviours.

Children and young people’s body image perceptions and their susceptibility to pressures to change their appearance are hugely influenced by a number of social and cultural factors.
Evidence shows that exposure to different forms of media including advertising, particularly those that focus on body image ‘improvements’ such as cosmetic intervention procedures, is likely to exacerbate body image dissatisfaction and negativity during vulnerable stages of their lives.

In a paper published by The Harley Medical Group’s Mr Amir Sadri in the Journal of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery, the increased media attention on aesthetic surgery was analysed. Between 1991 and 2013, the number of articles relating to the field increased from 45 to over 3500. Mr Sadri shared that accessibility of aesthetic surgery has widened over recent years, but that social media and celebrity culture has led to the significance of surgery being underplayed.*

CAP and BCAP will conduct a 12-month post-implementation review to ensure that the new rules are functioning as intended. The Harley Medical Group openly acknowledges and supports these informative changes.

*Amir Sadri, Reza Nassab, Cosmetic surgery and the press: A 22 year review of a growing relationship, Journal of Plastic, Reconstructive & Aesthetic Surgery, Volume 68, Issue 2, 2015, Pages 269-270, ISSN 1748-6815,

Posted June 7, 2022
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